Gauche - A People's History of Gauche - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Gauche - A People's History of Gauche

by Bill Golembeski Rating:9 Release Date:2019-07-12
Gauche - A People's History of Gauche
Gauche - A People's History of Gauche

This record walks the tightrope between weird eclectic stuff and viable (and quite commercial) rock.

Reference points: The Raincoats, X-Ray Specs, The Rezillos, The B-52’s, and (my beloved) Slapp Happy. And Downtown Boys and Priests whose members make up this band.

So, let’s just say that this record jumps, bounces, and simply wiggles with the delight of a snake that’s about to tempt Eve with forbidden fruit.

Yeah, this is joyous rock music.

“Flash” is great late 70’s rock with a maze-like guitar bit and a female vocal that darts here and there with a punky attitude. And a sax dots every exclamation point.

But then things get pleasantly weird. “Cycles” sings with vocals that are warm and sharp, while the band, with guitar and sax, plays to the very brink of any cliff. And then “Pay Day” jumps, bounces, and wiggles with low-flying helium rock ‘n’ roll inflation. This one zig-zags through the universe with the odd melodic quest. And the guitar temps the future. But “Surveilled Society” is guitar chord specific and hops around the history of rock with a pleasant dissonant confidence. This one stretches logic into a commercial tune. The same is true for “Copper Woman” which sounds like a warmer version of the great band Wire. Repetition is the key, like Andy Warhol Campbells’ Soup cans. “Running” continues to evoke the music of the late 70’s, while adding yet another odd vibration into the vocals. And that guitar continues to wiggle like a snake that’s about to tempt Eve with that forbidden delight.

And speaking of temptation in the Garden of Eden, I once met a guy, in all places, Oregon’s Crater Lake campground, who claimed that the Bible had it all wrong, and there never was any forbidden tree, but rather, a jukebox with the future music of humanity, and Adam and Eve were instructed, specifically, to never play E-5, which was Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.”

Well, you can figure the rest. But then the guy also told me that he was the reincarnated sole survivor of the Lost Continent of Atlantis and they had computers back then that told everyone about the jukebox in Eden.

You know, there was snow in the campsite in the middle of July. That was odd.

Then this lost and sole survivor of Atlantis hit me up for a cup of coffee. He told me the camp store wouldn’t take his drachmas. That was odd, too.

And that’s the beauty of this record: It’s a weird melody from the past that still enjoys a really good cup of any caffeine’s best and very modern brew. It’s late 70’s stuff that still sings its soul today.

And the vocals are oddly sublime and worthy of any good Summer Solstice dance.

(That said) Oh yes, the tunes continue (to quote the Revillos) to rev up. Keyboards pump the pulse of “Boon Hazard,” while the guitar continues to squirm and those vocals are always melodically incongruent. Of course, the sax honks with absolute joy. And speaking of absolute joy, “Dirty Jacket” actually squiggles with delight and then the chorus spirals into some sort of slow time warp. The B-52’s had a song called “Dance This Mess Around” that mentions a dance called the “Shy Tuna.” Well, this tune could be the perfect vibe to get that timid tunny to do a little hippy hippy shaking. And “History” is even better as those vocals race up and down a funhouse rollercoaster ride.

Odd (for prog lovers): the quirky sounds of this record do (sort of) echo Gentle Giant’s sound on their The Power and the Glory album, Go figure!

The final songs release the few restraints left to the music. “Rent” is a punky romp with bopping sax and vocals that whoop with tribal rock ‘n’ roll bliss. And I still think the guitar wiggles with the smile of beautiful deceit. “Rectangle” ups the tribal bliss as the vocals sing radio signals from distant planets. It’s all ramshackle and oddly tough. This is the sound of vocal cords being ripped and shredded--just like John Lennon’s torn voice as he sang “Twist and Shout” way back in The Beatles’ Please Please Me days.

Sure, this music continues in the vein of the last 70’s greats like The Raincoats, The Rezillos, X-Ray Specs, and (my beloved) Slapp Happy. But this music jumps, bounces, and simply wiggles with the delight, just as, I suppose, the entire Garden of Eden bopped the very moment after our dear Eve pressed the forbidden E-5 button and unleashed the rock ‘n’ roll of “Johnny B. Goode” to an unsuspecting, but sadly groove-starved universe.

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